162 episodes

A podcast about bridging art, activism, and academia to build more just futures. On each episode, host Cathy Hannabach interviews the scholars, dancers, authors, artists, and filmmakers imagining collective freedom and creating it through culture.

Imagine Otherwise by Ideas on Fire Cathy Hannabach

    • Arts

A podcast about bridging art, activism, and academia to build more just futures. On each episode, host Cathy Hannabach interviews the scholars, dancers, authors, artists, and filmmakers imagining collective freedom and creating it through culture.

    Natalie Zervou on Dance in the Age of Austerity

    Natalie Zervou on Dance in the Age of Austerity

    The relationship between dance and politics has long been a complex one. In moments of national and international crisis, artists are often at the center of resistance movements, and the embodied knowledges honed by dancers, choreographers, and performers can become key survival techniques for diverse communities.
    In episode 161 of Imagine Otherwise, host Cathy Hannabach interviews dance studies scholar and Ideas on Fire author Natalie Zervou, author of the new book Performing the Greek Crisis: Navigating National Identity in the Age of Austerity.
    The book is out now from the University of Michigan Press, and it offers a deep dive into how the Greek dance world and arts communities navigated the decade-long Greek financial crisis that began in 2009.
    In the interview, Natalie situates dance in Greece’s complex economic and political standing in the European Union, explaining how choreographers, performers, funders, and audiences manage this standing through the performing arts.
    They also discuss the vibrant regional dance festival circuit in Greece, where festival organizers and dancers use them as platforms for political critique, cultural expression, and international engagement.
    Natalie also addresses recent Greek dance performances about the European refugee crisis, explaining how they engage the urgent and racialized politics of mobility and displacement in the context of neoliberal capitalism and racist state violence.
    They close out the episode with Natalie’s vision for a new creative economy in which dance and artistic labor is valued and the embodied arts serve as a vital way to build more just futures.
    Transcript and show notes: https://ideasonfire.net/161-natalie-zervou

    • 25 min
    Amber Rose González, Felicia Montes, and Nadia Zepeda on Mujeres de Maiz

    Amber Rose González, Felicia Montes, and Nadia Zepeda on Mujeres de Maiz

    In episode 160 of Imagine Otherwise, host Cathy Hannabach interviews Amber Rose González, Felicia Montes, and Nadia Zepeda—three legendary feminist artists, activists, and scholars from the genre-defying, transnational feminist of color collective Mujeres de Maiz.
    Amber, Felicia, and Nadia are also editors of a new book called Mujeres de Maiz en Movimiento: Spiritual Artivism, Healing Justice, and Feminist Praxis, which was recently published by the University of Arizona Press.
    In their conversation, Amber, Felicia, and Nadia share their journey with Mujeres de Maiz and the collective liberation the group is building.
    They chat about how the book publishing process builds on their longstanding practices of making publishing more accessible and collaborative, embodying the political and ethical commitments found across their art and activism as well.
    They also discuss how intergenerational knowledge transmission and other forms of community education dovetail with classroom teaching to create radical spaces of learning.
    Finally, they close out the conversation with Amber, Felicia, and Nadia’s vision for a world in which many worlds are possible and how Mujeres de Maiz collectively brings those worlds into being.
    Teaching guide with transcript and show notes: https://ideasonfire.net/160-gonzalez-montes-zepeda
     

    • 23 min
    Erin McElroy on Silicon Valley Imperialism

    Erin McElroy on Silicon Valley Imperialism

    How has the Silicon Valley form of technocapitalism shaped geographies around the world?
    In episode 159 of Imagine Otherwise, host Cathy Hannabach interviews Ideas on Fire author, University of Washington geography professor, and housing justice activist Erin McElroy about the global reach of technocapitalism.
    Erin is the author of the new Duke University Press book Silicon Valley Imperialism: Techno Fantasies and Frictions in Postsocialist Times, which is a fascinating multi-sited ethnography of the dispossessions wrought by Silicon Valley on both sides of the Iron Curtain.
    In their conversation, Erin shares the complex process of studying technocapitalism across borders, specifically how the research trajectories of doing a multi-sited ethnography intersect with local activist and scholarly commitments on the ground.
    They also discuss the media figure of the Romanian hacker and how romanticization of the digital nomad lifestyle intensified gentrification and displacement in both the San Francisco Bay Area and cities across Romania and Eastern Europe.
    They close out the episode with Erin’s vision for a future of technological and housing justice, where the imperialism of Silicon Valley is replaced by translocal and international solidarities.
    Transcript and show notes: https://ideasonfire.net/159-erin-mcelroy
     

    • 26 min
    Juan Llamas-Rodriguez on the Visual Politics of Border Tunnels

    Juan Llamas-Rodriguez on the Visual Politics of Border Tunnels

    How do media representations of US–Mexico border tunnels shape immigration discourse, public policy, and anti-immigrant violence?
    To help us think through how these tunnels are represented and often overrepresented in US media, in episode 158 of Imagine Otherwise, host Cathy Hannabach interviews Ideas on Fire author Juan Llamas-Rodriguez about his new book Border Tunnels: A Media Theory of the US–Mexico Underground.
    For all of their visual obscurity and inaccessibility, tunnels are hypervisible in media representations not only of the US–Mexico border region but also the bodies—both real and imagined—that are associated with the borderlands.
    In the conversation, Juan shares his research into how border tunnels are represented in video games like first-person shooters, television news coverage like Anderson Cooper 360°, copaganda reality shows like Border Wars, and action films like Fast and Furious.
    They also discuss why it is so important to think infrastructurally about media production and how designers and activists are using speculative design to reimagine what the US–Mexico borderlands are and the role of tunnels in that process.
    Finally, they close out the conversation with Juan’s challenge to both media makers and media consumers alike to accept responsibility for the material consequences of representation and use it to create a world where the free movement of people across and beyond all borders is celebrated and realized.
    Transcript, teaching guide, and show notes: https://ideasonfire.net/158-juan-llamas-rodriguez
     

    • 23 min
    Tamara Kneese on Death in the Digital Platform Age

    Tamara Kneese on Death in the Digital Platform Age

    In episode 157 of Imagine Otherwise, host Cathy Hannabach interviews media scholar and Ideas on Fire author Tamara Kneese about the complex relationship between Big Tech and mortality, specifically how digital media platforms mediate our experiences of death.
    Tamara is a senior researcher and project director of Data & Society’s AIMLab, and her new book Death Glitch: How Techno-Solutionism Fails Us in This Life and Beyond was recently published by Yale University Press.
    In their conversation, Tamara and Cathy chat about how platform economies built around planned obsolescence shape our experiences of life and death, as well as how gig workers, families, and community organizers are creatively harnessing these tools for progressive possibilities.
    Tamara shares how in forms like cancer blogs, digital estate planning, online memorializations, and networked mutual aid in the context of COVID-19, communities are reimagining what collaborative online labor and worldbuilding look like.
    They close out the episode with Tamara’s vision for more just afterlives as well as a more just present, where digital technologies are put to use ensuring labor rights, climate justice, and more expansive futures for us all.
    Transcript and show notes: https://ideasonfire.net/157-tamara-kneese
     

    • 21 min
    Nicosia Shakes on Black Women's Activist Theater

    Nicosia Shakes on Black Women's Activist Theater

    In episode 156 of Imagine Otherwise, host Cathy Hannabach interviews scholar and artist Nicosia Shakes, whose creative and scholarly work celebrates the intertwining of political activism and performance across the African diaspora.
    Nicosia's play Afiba and Her Daughters, which offers an intergenerational narrative of Jamaican herstory, premiered at the Rites and Reason Theatre in Providence.
    Nicosia’s new book Women’s Activist Theatre in Jamaica and South Africa: Gender, Race, and Performance Space analyzes the work of four contemporary women-led theater groups and projects with a focus on how their activist productions take on gender injustice, racism, gang and state violence, and economic inequality.
    In their conversation, Nicosia and Cathy chat about Nicosia’s familial journey into community theater and why this kind of performance is such a powerful activist tool.
    She also shares the complexities of doing a transnational feminist, multisited ethnography across two continents and why a methodology of co-performative witnessing is so crucial for engaged theater research.
    Finally, they close out the episode with how Nicosia imagines otherwise for the future of Black and African diasporic artistic productions and the worlds they build on and off the stage.
    Transcript, teaching guide, and show notes: https://ideasonfire.net/156-nicosia-shakes
     

    • 26 min

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